Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is widely preventable but should not be taken lightly. This is one of the leading causes of tooth loss and can even be a precursor to other health conditions in the future. Nearly half the U.S. has some form of periodontal disease and certain risk factors will make you more susceptible. Our team at Clock Tower Dental wants to further your understanding of periodontal disease and how we can help you if you are diagnosed!
What Is It?
Periodontitis occurs when plaque starts to spread below the gum line due to poor oral hygiene. Plaque carries bacteria that agitates the gums and causes an inflammatory reaction. Because of the harmful germs, your body will commence destroying the bacteria. This is a very rigorous process that will destroy the soft tissue that holds your teeth in place. If untreated, your teeth and jaw bone can reap numerous repercussions which can result in tooth loss.
Signs And Symptoms
A precursor to periodontal disease is gingivitis. Some of the most common symptoms of gingivitis entail occasionally swollen and irritated gums along with bad breath. This is one of the very early signs of periodontal disease and is treatable at home with a good oral hygiene routine.
If you start to show these symptoms but do not receive treatment or adjust your oral hygiene routine, periodontal disease is undoubtedly going to occur. The early signs include receding, bleeding, and swollen gums. You also may start to see tiny pockets around your teeth where the bacteria is getting deeper. As it progresses, you will experience pain and your teeth may start to feel loose because the tissue supporting them is starting to deteriorate. During the most severe stages of gum disease, you will have pain while chewing, a bad taste in your mouth, and your teeth will likely start falling out.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Certain signs and symptoms should let you know your gums are not happy and need attention. After you have identified that you need to visit your dentist, it should be fairly easy for them to make a diagnosis and assess the severity. During the visit, they may use what is called a “periodontal probe” to assess gum health. If the probe stops at the surface then you will be in the prevention stage, but the deeper the probe goes the more severe your periodontal disease. If necessary, your dentist may order X-rays to get a better view of how much your gum disease has progressed.
Once severity is determined, a treatment plan will be arranged. This could range from an adjustment in your dental routine or, in the more severe cases, surgery. All treatment plans should be decided by your dentist.
How To Prevent It?
There are several ways that you can work to prevent periodontal disease! The best way to prevent it is to live a healthy lifestyle and have a stellar oral hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash should all be included in your everyday rituals. Along with this daily routine, professional cleanings from your dentist and checkups are going to help because they may find things that you overlooked.
In addition, certain lifestyle habits make you more susceptible to gum disease. If you smoke, take medications that cause dry mouth, or have dental bridges that no longer fit properly, these can irritate your gums and make them more prone to bacteria growth below the surface. Other health conditions such as diabetes can also increase your risk. Taking care of your body by stopping tobacco use, getting any teeth issues solved, and managing any prior illnesses are all additional ways you can prevent periodontal disease.
How Can A Dentist Help You?
At Clock Tower Dental, we specialize in periodontal services and treatments. There are many different options that a dentist may take when deciding which course of action is best for their patients. A thorough cleaning, often involving the scraping away of tartar and build-up, might be the first step in removing harmful bacteria. Root planing is also a type of cleaning that involves your dentist going under the gums to rid the bacteria below the gum line. It cleans the roots of your teeth to stop the deterioration of your gums, teeth, and jawbone. In serious cases, your dentist may require periodontal surgery to debride the area of all bacteria and reshape the gums around your teeth in the affected areas.
Periodontal disease is not something that should go untreated. If you believe you are suffering from gum disease or have any further questions about signs, symptoms, or treatment options, contact Clock Tower Dental today!